Edmonton Sun

    St. Louis Blues forward can sympathize with Connor McDavid predicament

    St. Louis Blues forward can sympathize with Connor McDavid predicament


    Pat Maroon has been on both sides of the Connor McDavid debate. The St. Louis Blues forward understands the Edmonton Oilers’ frustration with McDavid being impeded, often illegally, while officials turn a blind eye. Maroon rode shotgun with McDavid for...

    Pat Maroon has been on both sides of the Connor McDavid debate.

    The St. Louis Blues forward understands the Edmonton Oilers’ frustration with McDavid being impeded, often illegally, while officials turn a blind eye. Maroon rode shotgun with McDavid for parts of three seasons in Edmonton.

    But now with St. Louis Blues, Maroon expected to be doing his share of impeding when the two teams faced each other Tuesday at Rogers Place.

    “When I was on his side I hated it, but now if I’m out there against him, I’m going to try to hold him,” Maroon said with a smile prior to the contest. “He’s a good player and people are trying to find ways to slow him down. Obviously the game is changing, but any way you can frustrate and slow him down, it’s good. But it’s hard to do, that’s why he’s the best player in the league and he’s an elite player and we have to watch for that.”

    The constant clutching and grabbing on McDavid finally set off Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock. After a 4-2 loss, on the road, to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday, Hitchcock tore into the officials for neglecting to punish interference on his star player.

    “He’s the best player in the league right now, him and (Sidney) Crosby are the targets out there,” Maroon said. “When you’re trying to defend him, it’s tough to slow him down, and obviously, Connor is the fastest guy in the league. Sometimes you need to hold and grab him a bit and sometimes you have to because it’s tough to slow him down because he’s an elite player. He’s the best player in the league and he continues to show that every night.”

    BACK TO WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

    After a successful season with the Vegas Golden Knights, David Perron had a choice of teams to play with as an unrestricted free agent.

    The former Oilers winger decided to go back to where his career started, signing a four-year, $16-million contract with the Blues. Perron, 30, broke in with the Blues and spent six seasons in St. Louis before being traded to the Oilers prior to the 2013-14 season.

    “I love it there, it’s great,” Perron said. “It’s great for my family and that’s the biggest thing for sure. I’ve moved around a lot in the last four or five years and it’s definitely a team that gave me an opportunity to play in the league and I’m always going to be grateful for that. I grew up there, I was 19 when I got there. It’s been a tough season team-wise, but family-wise, it’s been great to be back in St. Louis and we enjoy life there for sure.”

    St. Louis Blues David Perron (57) celebrates his goal with teammates against the Edmonton Oilers in NHL action at Rogers Place in Edmonton, December 18, 2018. Ed Kaiser / Postmedia

    SINGING THE BLUES

    St. Louis has been so good for so long, it was tough to envision them struggling this season, particularly when pegged to be near the top of the Western Conference standings again.

    Heading into the contest Tuesday, the Blues were 11 points and four teams back of the Oilers for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.

    They went into Edmonton having been pounded 7-2, at home, by the Calgary Flames on Sunday.

    “We had high expectations going into the season and it’s rare that you meet them when they’re so high like that,” Perron said. “I was pretty cautious myself, just talking about it, there are so many teams that feel they’ve improved so much over the summer, that it’s hard to pick one or two and say they’re going to win the Cup.

    “That’s kind of almost what we had labeled on us. We haven’t met that right now and we just have to work really hard to get back in the hunt and put ourselves back in the race and you never know what can happen if we do that.”

    The Blues fired head coach Mike Yeo 19 games into the season and replaced him with interim Craig Berube. Heading in against the Oilers, the Blues were 5-6-1 under Berube, having sustained big losses against the Winnipeg Jets (8-4), Arizona Coyotes (6-1), Vancouver Canucks (6-1) and Flames (7-2).

    “I think it’s just consistency,” said Blues defenceman Colton Parayko. “I think it’s playing full games. I think we kind of tend to get away from some games and that’s where we kind of lose it. I think once we start losing, it just goes down a little bit, but we have good games and when we play good games, we’re a good team. That’s the exciting part, we know we’re a good team and we just have to put it together consistently.”

    TRADE BAIT

    With the Blues struggling, trade rumours are swirling around the club like vultures around a dying carcass.

    Yet the Blues are tying not to let impending trade rumours get them off their game as they try to climb the Western Conference standings.

    “No not at all. That happens in sports, it’s part of the game, it’s part of the job,” Blues forward Jaden Schwartz said. “That’s going to happen when your team is not exactly where they want to be. There is no talk of that in here at all and that doesn’t affect us.”

    Edmonton Oilers Ty Rattie (8) and St. Louis Blues Joel Edmundson (6) battle for the puck in NHL action at Rogers Place in Edmonton, December 18, 2018. Ed Kaiser / Postmedia

    Email: dvandiest@postmedia.com

    On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

    Hockey Hall of Fame writer Jim Matheson talks to Oil Spills host Craig Ellingson about the Edmonton Oilers’ successful stretch of games under head coach Ken Hitchcock, taking points in 10 of 13 games — eight of them wins — since he replaced Todd McLellan on Nov. 20, 2018.

    The team finally looked, shall we say, human in Vancouver on Dec. 16 in a 4-2 loss to the Canucks, a team behind them in the NHL’s Western Conference standings.

    If the Oilers keep lulls and jags to a minimum, they should be able to maintain their status among playoff contenders in the Western Conference.

    Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, Google Play or Soundcloud. You can also listen via the player below.

    Going home to St. Louis most important for Pat Maroon

    Going home to St. Louis most important for Pat Maroon


    Pat Maroon had little desire to leave when traded by the Edmonton Oilers last season. Yet, as an impeding free agent, the two sides were unable to come together on a contract prior to the NHL trade deadline, and Maroon was dealt to the New Jersey...

    Pat Maroon had little desire to leave when traded by the Edmonton Oilers last season.

    Yet, as an impeding free agent, the two sides were unable to come together on a contract prior to the NHL trade deadline, and Maroon was dealt to the New Jersey Devils.

    This off-season, Maroon decided to sign with his hometown St. Louis Blues where he could be closer to his family and in particular his son, Anthony.

    “It’s been a privilege, it’s been great in St. Louis,” Maroon said prior to facing the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. “There are good guys in the room and I think I made a good choice. Obviously putting that St. Louis Blues sweater every night means so much to me and being home with my family means a lot.”

    Maroon signed a one-year, $1.75 million contract to play with the Blues. He reportedly turned down bigger offers in order to play at home.

    Tuesday was his first visit to Edmonton since being traded by the Oilers last season to the Devils in exchange for forward J.D. Dudek, currently at Boston College, and a third-round pick in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft.

    “It’s good to be back, it’s obviously weird walking into the room (Tuesday) morning,” Maroon said. “I made some really good friends over there and I enjoyed my time in Edmonton. I had my best years here in Edmonton, there are a lot of good memories here in this building, so it’s good to be back.”

    Email: dvandiest@postmedia.com

    On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

    Hockey Hall of Fame writer Jim Matheson talks to Oil Spills host Craig Ellingson about the Edmonton Oilers’ successful stretch of games under head coach Ken Hitchcock, taking points in 10 of 13 games — eight of them wins — since he replaced Todd McLellan on Nov. 20, 2018.

    The team finally looked, shall we say, human in Vancouver on Dec. 16 in a 4-2 loss to the Canucks, a team behind them in the NHL’s Western Conference standings.

    If the Oilers keep lulls and jags to a minimum, they should be able to maintain their status among playoff contenders in the Western Conference.

    Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, Google Play or Soundcloud. You can also listen via the player below.

    Edmonton Oilers forward Jujhar Khaira takes centre stage against St. Louis Blues

    Edmonton Oilers forward Jujhar Khaira takes centre stage against St. Louis Blues


    Jujhar Khaira has been given a new role with the Edmonton Oilers. The power forward is being asked to carry his own line after weeks of improved play under head coach Ken Hitchcock. Khaira was moved to centre between Drake Caggiula and Jesse Puljujarvi...

    Jujhar Khaira has been given a new role with the Edmonton Oilers.

    The power forward is being asked to carry his own line after weeks of improved play under head coach Ken Hitchcock.

    Khaira was moved to centre between Drake Caggiula and Jesse Puljujarvi against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, after playing on the wing all season.

    “When was in junior, he was a centre and he sees himself as a centre,” said Hitchcock prior to the contest. “When we bring him up here he plays as a left winger, but if we’re going to get to another level and expect to be playoff team and do damage in the second half of the season, we need more participants. That’s why we made the changes we did, we talked it over with the players (Monday), we have to get more players participating for longer minutes in the game.”

    Khaira has seen an increase in ice time as his offensive production improves.

    Heading into the contest against the Blues, the Surrey, B.C., product had two goals and seven points in his previous nine games. He had five assists in his first 23 games, and was a healthy scratch on three occasions.

    He had an assists in the 4-1 loss and then took a major penalty in the third period for a retaliatory cross-check on Blues defenceman Vince Dunn.

    “I feel like it’s heading in the right direction. I feel like every game I’m playing, I’m a little bit more confident in different areas of the game,” Khaira said, prior to the contest. “It’s one of those things that I want to keep growing my game. I’m happy with it right now, just being consistent is the main thing I have to work on. That’s something that I want to keep focusing on game-by-game.”

    Edmonton Oilers Jujhar Khaira (16) falls over St. Louis Blues Vince Dunn (29) after cross checking him which he received a five minute penalty and a game misconduct in NHL action at Rogers Place in Edmonton, December 18, 2018. Ed Kaiser / Postmedia

    Khaira’s offensive success of late has come riding shotgun with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. With centre Ryan Spooner getting pulled out of the lineup after struggling to produce offensively since coming over in a trade from the New York Rangers in exchange for Ryan Strome, Khaira was moved into the middle.

    “He (Khaira) and (Jesse) Puljujarvi are two of the guys that we look at that can bring even more. We have to get them in a position where he can take advantage of it,” Hitchcock said. “We’re going to try him at centre and see how he looks. But the big plan is, whoever the 12 (forwards) are, we need more participation going forward to get to the next level. Right now we’re relying on too few players and at the end of the game, especially in really intense, playoff-type games like the one in Vancouver was, we had some people who were worn down and had played too many minutes and it showed in their play. We have to get more guys helping us in a better way and he’s one of them.”

    Coming through the system, Khaira had been a centre. He was selected by the Oilers in the third round — 63 overall — of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Khaira, 24, is in his second full year with the Oilers. He had 11 goals and 21 points in 69 games last season.

    “I’ve played center in the past. I’ve played in junior and in the minors and I’ve played a little bit up here,” Khaira said. “It’s something that I’m familiar with. I haven’t played it in a little bit, but I have two great linemates that are going to help me out. I’m comfortable playing with both of them and I know if I’m a little slow in one area, I’ll have them for help.”

    The Oilers have been struggling to get offence from the bottom half of their lineup. The line of Milan Lucic, Kyle Brodziak and Zack Kassian have six goals all season. Lucic has not scored since the season opener in Sweden.

    “It’s one of those things that I know I can play offensively, it definitely comes with confidence and it comes with ice time,” Khaira said. “I think if I play my game, if I play how I can create room for others and go to the net, that’s when great things happen for me.”

    This season, Khaira has been effective using his size and strength to protect the puck. Playing with Nugent-Hopkins has brought out his offensive side. His play has impressed Hitchcock to the point where he is being used in key situations.

    “I don’t know if it’s so much to impress the coach,” Khaira said. “I think at the end of the day, I just have to do what got me here. Just getting back to that and fighting for the guys in this locker room, having the support of the guys in the locker room and giving my support back, that’s my main focus.”

    Email: dvandiest@postmedia.com

    On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

    Hockey Hall of Fame writer Jim Matheson talks to Oil Spills host Craig Ellingson about the Edmonton Oilers’ successful stretch of games under head coach Ken Hitchcock, taking points in 10 of 13 games — eight of them wins — since he replaced Todd McLellan on Nov. 20, 2018.

    The team finally looked, shall we say, human in Vancouver on Dec. 16 in a 4-2 loss to the Canucks, a team behind them in the NHL’s Western Conference standings.

    If the Oilers keep lulls and jags to a minimum, they should be able to maintain their status among playoff contenders in the Western Conference.

    Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, Google Play or Soundcloud. You can also listen via the player below.

    Blues beat Oilers on disputed third-period goal

    Blues beat Oilers on disputed third-period goal


    Former Oilers winger Patrick Maroon didn’t get a video tribute for his time here but he was involved in the biggest, most confounding play of the game Tuesday as the struggling St. Louis Blues left town with a 4-1 win. With David Perron scoring in the...

    Former Oilers winger Patrick Maroon didn’t get a video tribute for his time here but he was involved in the biggest, most confounding play of the game Tuesday as the struggling St. Louis Blues left town with a 4-1 win.

    With David Perron scoring in the first and Jesse Puljujarvi matching that goal in the second period, Blues’ rookie Robert Thomas drove the net two minutes into the third. With a mosh-pit in the crease, the NHL’s Situation Room determined from a different camera angle than anybody on TV or in the building here saw, that the puck had somehow crossed the line. Maroon, Tyler Bozak, Puljujarvi and Jason Garrison were all crowded into the blue paint with Oilers goalie Cam Talbot as he tried to get his mitt or pad on the bouncing puck.

    The refs on the ice — Garrett Rank and Kyle Rehman — blew the play dead but they got a call from the War Room that they wanted to look at it frame-by-frame. Maroon got credit for the winner, only his second goal of the year.

    Vlad Tarasenko added an insurance goal with a bullet past Talbot’s blocker later in the third on a power play after a stick foul by Jujhar Khaira. And Jaden Schwartz got one into the empty cage with Talbot pulled for an extra skater.

    So, the Oilers, in their 14th game over the past 25 days, have lost their first home game in the Ken Hitchcock regime after six straight Ws at Rogers Place. And they’ve dropped two in a row against Vancouver and the Blues, who were drilled 7-2 at home to the Calgary Flames Sunday.

    “Special teams were big, we scored a big power play goal, the penalty kill was excellent. The Guys did a great job on the McDavid line, whoever was out there against them. I thought (Colton) Parayko and (Joel) Edmundson did a great job against those guys tonight,” said Blues coach Craig Berube.

    “The game was 1-1 after two periods which was where we wanted it but we were the first team to crack,” said Hitchcock. “We lost the game in the second period, on our special teams (four power plays and not a sniff). Then in the third, their second goal seemed to deflate us.”

    Take a shower fella

    Khaira, arguably the best Oiler on the night — he set up Puljujarvi for his third goal of the season — got tossed for an ill-timed cross-check to the head of Vince Dunn in front of the Blues’ net midway through the third period. That foul might get the attention of the NHL’s Player Safety department. Dunn also got a cross-check to Khaira before the Oiler retaliated.

    Restraining fouls, what fouls?

    The Oilers had five power plays but none for a hook or a hold on McDavid — one for too many men, one for shooting the puck over the glass, one for a Maroon slash, one for a wrong coach’s challenge and a bench minor — so the refs obviously didn’t get the memo to watch for fouls on the Oiler captain. The Oilers power play was awful with four shots in 10 power-play minutes on Jake Allen.

    Continuing arithmetic education

    If the Blues are counting on getting back into the playoff picture, their math has to drastically improve along with their goals for and against. For the 10th time in 33 games, they got caught with too many men on the ice just after Oskar Sundvist almost tucked one past Talbot in the second frame. That’s seven times under coach Craig Berube since he replaced Mike Yeo 13 games ago.

    Where’s the justice?

    Berube challenged Pujujarvi’s goal for offside (line change) but after the NHL’s Situation room looked at it for two minutes, they decided t wasn’t and the goal stood. They determined that Ty Rattie exited the playing surface and executed a legal line change (within five feet of the bench, no matter if one foot was off the ice at the time) with Khaira prior to Puljujarvi touching the puck in the offensive zone. Because you now get a team penalty for disallowed offside debates, Perron went to the box.

    “They made the right call (offside). The guy would have had to touch the puck while the guy was changing there. We thought he had the one foot on the ice, but he didn’t, it was the right call by the linesman,” said Berube.

    Suspended disbelief

    The former Oilers winger Perron, who played 116 games for them after the Magnus Paajarvi trade, fired a shot past Talbot’s blocker from 35 feet out after he tucked the puck into the feet of Oiler defenceman Kevin Gravel and let fly. When it went in, Perron had one of those “how did that happen?” looks on his face as he skated past to the bench. It was the sixth goal in 32 career games against the Oilers.

    Take a seat, young man

    Fourth-line centre Ryan Spooner was a healthy scratch for the first time since the Ryan Strome (Rangers) trade a month ago. He had a minor injury in Dallas two weeks ago and sat out. Spooner has three points in his 15 Oilers games, and while he’s shown flashes, only once has he had double figures in minutes played in the last 10, with 6:25 Sunday in Vancouver. “We need more players participating,” said Hitchcock, who moved Khaira into the centre slot.

    This ’n that: Caleb Jones got his first NHL point in his third game on Puljujarvi’s goal. “I was actually trying to get the puck to (Drake) Caggiula down the wall,” said Jones, who fanned on the pass, then with a second chance got it to Khaira … The Oilers have given up 10 empty-netters this season … Hitchcock and Berube both had birthdays Monday. Berube, who played junior for Hitchcock in Kamloops, turned 53. Hitchcock turned 67 … The 50-50 for Saturday’s Tampa game at Rogers will start at $68,000 with a carry-over from the Nov. 29 home against Los Angeles Kings.

    Hockey Hall of Fame writer Jim Matheson talks to Oil Spills host Craig Ellingson about the Edmonton Oilers’ successful stretch of games under head coach Ken Hitchcock, taking points in 10 of 13 games — eight of them wins — since he replaced Todd McLellan on Nov. 20, 2018.

    The team finally looked, shall we say, human in Vancouver on Dec. 16 in a 4-2 loss to the Canucks, a team behind them in the NHL’s Western Conference standings.

    If the Oilers keep lulls and jags to a minimum, they should be able to maintain their status among playoff contenders in the Western Conference.

    Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, Google Play or Soundcloud. You can also listen via the player below.

    JONES: Oilers look sluggish in loss to cellar-dweller St. Louis Blues

    JONES: Oilers look sluggish in loss to cellar-dweller St. Louis Blues


    It was the kind of a performance you sometimes see from a team coming off the Christmas break after consuming copious amounts of turkey, dressing, gravy, egg nog and the like. Except this was a week before Christmas. And it may have spoiled what would...

    It was the kind of a performance you sometimes see from a team coming off the Christmas break after consuming copious amounts of turkey, dressing, gravy, egg nog and the like.

    Except this was a week before Christmas.

    And it may have spoiled what would have been a cool yule. Had they kept on the roll Ken Hitchcock had them on since he returned from retirement to coach his hometown team, they’d have put themselves in a perfect position to make a real move toward the top of the tables.

    As was the case two nights earlier in Vancouver, the Oilers played so poorly they made a cellar dweller look like a power.

    If the Oilers had beat the skidding St. Louis Blues, they’d have taken a seven-game home-winning streak into Saturday’s game here against the league’s top team in the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Instead they opened a five-game home stand with an especially poor performance and wasted a chance to make a move on a night when the out-of-town scoreboard had some encouraging results.

    It was a butt ugly 4-1 loss where they were outworked and lost a plethora of little races and battles.

    It was a night when Connor McDavid had been put into more focus than usual with the comments by his coach regarding the mauling he’d been subject to behind the play.

    While none had a connection to McDavid, the Oilers were awarded five power plays in the first two periods compared to one by the Blues and had only 17 shots to show for the 40 minutes and 23 for the entire game.

    There was no indication of any of that this night, but No. 97 had one of his most ineffectual games of the season.

    Oh, he hit a goalpost and had his chances here and there.

    But on a night when he could have made some history, McDavid failed to produce a point. The captain needed one assist to reach 200 in his career and become the eighth fastest in NHL history in his 243rd game.

    For a while there it looked like Hitchcock’s magic wand was still working.

    That was when Jesse Puljujarvi pulled the trigger to tie the game 1-1. It was Hitchcock who rescued Puljujarvi from the minors to become his personal development director. The Finn was on a nine-game scoring drought.

    And for a while there, Cam Talbot was making Hitchcock’s decision to go with him in goal look inspired, as well.

    Throughout his first month here, Hitchcock has been consistent in repeating that the strength of this team he’s set about coaching in his old hometown is its goaltending.

    But saying it and playing it are two different things and this was a game where the just-turned 67-year-old head coach felt he had to show Talbot that he believed that with deeds not just the words.

    It had to be tempting to start Mikko Koskinen.

    I mean, it was a home game, the first of five in a row at Rogers Place. Koskinen doesn’t lose in Edmonton. Period.

    The six-foot-seven foot Finn is 7-0 at home with a 0.92. goals against average and ungodly .970 save percentage.

    The $2.5 million backup from the KHL who didn’t get his first start until the Oilers sixth game of the season, Koskinen is tied for 15th in the NHL with 11 wins and has the second best goals against average (2.18) and save percentage (.928) among goaltenders with at least 10 games.

    Koskinen’s three shutouts, all at home, rank behind only Marc-Andre Fleury’s five with Vegas.

    There’s no comparison, at this point, with the inconsistent season Talbot is having in his attempt to put together a bounce-back year from his excellent 42-win campaign in 2016-17 or match his career numbers 134-104-23/2.55/.916.

    Talbot went into the game with a 7-9-2 record, 3.22 goals against average and an .894 save percentage.

    While it’s ridiculous to hang that loss on Talbot, the bottom line at the moment is that this hockey team, for reasons unknown, plays better in front of Koskinen.

    It’s another loss for Talbot. And Koskinen is back in until further notice, quite possibly sometime in 2019.

    This night, Hitchcock guessed wrong.

    Hockey Hall of Fame writer Jim Matheson talks to Oil Spills host Craig Ellingson about the Edmonton Oilers’ successful stretch of games under head coach Ken Hitchcock, taking points in 10 of 13 games — eight of them wins — since he replaced Todd McLellan on Nov. 20, 2018.

    The team finally looked, shall we say, human in Vancouver on Dec. 16 in a 4-2 loss to the Canucks, a team behind them in the NHL’s Western Conference standings.

    If the Oilers keep lulls and jags to a minimum, they should be able to maintain their status among playoff contenders in the Western Conference.

    Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, Google Play or Soundcloud. You can also listen via the player below.

    Letters December 19: Not B.C.’s fault

    Letters December 19: Not B.C.’s fault


    DON’T BLAME US I’m sorry that Gloria feels the need to boycott B.C. and also that people are so daft to think that all of B.C. feels the same as way Whistler’s mayor. As a proud British Columbian, I do not support Jack Crompton and his absurd...

    DON’T BLAME US

    I’m sorry that Gloria feels the need to boycott B.C. and also that people are so daft to think that all of B.C. feels the same as way Whistler’s mayor. As a proud British Columbian, I do not support Jack Crompton and his absurd request for oil/gas companies to pay any more for climate change than they already have. Stop blaming and boycotting B.C. because of one jackass’ comment.

    Joe Smuin

    (More than one politician driving this wedge between sister provinces.)

    MAKE THEM PAY

    Well, it’s been two years and we can successfully say we have boycotted and will continue to boycott B.C. vacations and products! If the West Coast Environmental Law Group can convince 15 B.C. municipalities that Alberta’s and the country’s main economic driver is causing them pain and yet Canada as a whole only produces 1.6% of the entire worlds CO2, then my family will do our own economic protest! We will now include vacations and products from Quebec, since their premier has the same attitude! Albertans, you need to stop being so polite and take your own stand!

    Brian and Lisa Couronne

    (No love for either province here.)

    WRONG HOUSE, BUD

    To the person that left the unsigned note on my front door accusing me of not being a “normal human being” and suggesting I not drive because I don’t know how to park correctly … that was not my truck in front of my house. I don’t own a truck and always park my car in the garage. Maybe this person needs to act more like a “normal human being” and get the facts before accusing anybody of perceived wrongdoing, unless they left a note on all the houses just to cover all their bases instead of leaving the note on, oh, I don’t know, maybe the truck windshield?

    NEIL FORST

    (Not the brightest bulb, eh?)

    COLD COMFORT

    So here we go again, Trudeau using Canadian taxpayers’ dollars in an attempt to get out of another problem he has caused. $1.6 billion to go to the energy sector. This is nothing more than an election ploy, and he knew if he didn’t do something he would have a revolt on his hands. I believe Trudeau thinks this little drop in the bucket of Albertan’s own money is going to give him more votes, I don’t think so.

    Barry Harris

    (Wait, are you saying it’s good he did something to head off a revolt, or bad he did something because it’s meaningless?)

    PIPE DOWN

    The Edmonton Sun responded to Randy Tarowski’s letter with “A trade war could be leverage, but could also do harm here.” You grovelling toad! Get on side or get out. We need help in a very unreasonable situation and you counsel reason when dealing with lying con-men? What is it going to take to get you Sun people to wake up?

    Mike Roebuck

    (Again, a trade war could give us leverage and have benefit for Alberta, but it also carries risk. It’s not grovelling to point out.)

    EDITORIAL: Federal cash for oil industry a nice gesture but how about a pipeline?

    EDITORIAL: Federal cash for oil industry a nice gesture but how about a pipeline?


    Albertans are a good-natured bunch. We’re polite when given gifts, offered help. After Calgary flooded or Fort McMurray burned, we were ever so thankful when help came from across the country. It’s with that same sense of gratitude that we can...

    Albertans are a good-natured bunch.

    We’re polite when given gifts, offered help.

    After Calgary flooded or Fort McMurray burned, we were ever so thankful when help came from across the country.

    It’s with that same sense of gratitude that we can appreciate the sentiment behind the announcement that the federal government — not currently the most well-liked group in Wild Rose Country — offered to chip in $1.6 billion to help the battered oil industry.

    This is a not-inconsequential amount of money, and some action is better than none.

    But, on the other hand, Albertans are a proud people.

    We want to be able to run businesses, work hard, and help our families thrive. And we’d love to be left alone to do it.

    Albertans don’t need government handouts, just a clear path to work toward success.

    And in the case of the oilpatch, that really means a way to get access to markets.

    In short, what Albertans would really want this Christmas is a sense that we’re getting somewhere on Trans Mountain, but also on the prospect of other projects.

    We would like to see Bill C-69, dubbed by some as the ‘no pipeliness bill’, amended to address the concerns of industry. The tanker ban also needs to be looked at, as do changes to regulations that has helped stall other projects.

    There may be good reason that no one from the Notley government was at the announcement in Edmonton by Jim Carr and Amarjeet Sohi, it is merely a federal funding announcement, but in a way, it potentially speaks volumes.

    Premier Rachel Notley, to her credit, has been going to bat for Alberta industry of late, taking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sohi, the natural resources minister, to task over their handling of the pipeline file.

    And in her pleas to the feds, nowhere has Notley called for the kind of spending program that was announced Tuesday.

    Notley has been calling for market access, be it through pipeline or rail cars, which she asked the feds to consider helping pay for.

    So yes, there will be some who are happy to see the feds kicking in money to help the industry. Lord knows it needs something.

    But Tuesday’s announcement misses the mark.

    Hicks’ Weekly Dish: OEB Breakfast Co — the power breakfast has arrived in Edmonton!

    Hicks’ Weekly Dish: OEB Breakfast Co — the power breakfast has arrived in Edmonton!


    OEB Breakfast Co.10174 100A St.  (Kelly-Ramsey Building)587-520-0936eatoeb.com Reservations: by phone weekdays, weekend wait list No listed delivery service Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Weekends and holidays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Breakfast for two...

    OEB Breakfast Co.
    10174 100A St.  (Kelly-Ramsey Building)
    587-520-0936
    eatoeb.com

    Reservations: by phone weekdays, weekend wait list

    No listed delivery service

    Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Weekends and holidays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    Breakfast for two excluding tip, taxes or beverages: Basic, $25; loaded $50

    Food:  4 of 5 Suns
    Ambience:  4 of 5 Suns
    Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns

    By GRAHAM HICKS

    The biggest problem at the OEB Breakfast Company (besides trying to remember if it’s OEB, EOB or BEO – it stands for Over Easy Breakfast) is where to start?

    The new downtown  breakfast emporium has 70 different dishes – everything under the prairie sky, as long as it has some connection to eggs, waffles, French toast or bagels.

    At lunch (it’s open until 3 p.m.) you could even order a Moroccan-Style Alberta Lamb Burger from the sandwiches section. Its brioche bun, I suppose, is vaguely breakfast-ish.

    OEB is the first major retail tenant in the new Kelly Ramsey/Enbridge office tower in the downtown’s Rice Howard Way.  It sits on the very same ground as the still-legendary Bistro Praha restaurant (since moved), until the original Kelly-Ramsey Building burned in 2009 under suspicious circumstances.

    OEB is deliciously new, bright, white and Ikea-like. Natural light pours in through an all-glass exterior. It’s the perfect-breakfast nook, though at 54 seats, it’s a mighty big nook.

    And they are friendly! OEB, I mean OMG, these people have learned a lesson or two about friendliness since Calgarian restaurateur Mauro Martina opened the first of what’s now four OEB outlets a decade ago.

    OEB now has three franchises in Calgary, this one in Edmonton with a second to open on 124 Street. OEBs are also slated to open in Vancouver and Scottsdale, Ariz.

    Having regaled us with Christmas stories that come with being named Holly, our server wisely guided us through the barnyard of choices by asking what we were in the mood for.

    Once she knew — omelette and eggs benny — she made excellent recommendations from the nine bennies and four omelettes on the vast menu card.

    The Canadian EH! Eggs Benny was very good – being back bacon, poached eggs (cooked exactly as specified) and maple-syrup infused hollandaise sauce on the two bun halves. A generous arugula salad (your choice – greens or breakfast potatoes) was nestled between the eggs.

    OEG offers a healthy choice – arugula salad instead of breakfast potatoes with many of its dishes. Here’s the Canadian EH? Eggs Benny with the light salad..

    My guest had enough food on his Farmer John’s Delight omelette plate to keep him stuffed through dinner-time. The omelette was made from at least three eggs, chopped premium bacon and ham, sweet-potato fries under the omelette, toast on top, fresh fruit on the side.

    OEB is a fancier version of a Cora Breakfast and Lunch outlet — more downtown, more sophisticated in a friendly way, more expensive but still representing good value.

    Its strength is in its hospitality and the wide-ranging menu.  I am intrigued and must try OEB’s specialty ‘breakfast poutines’, maybe the “Confit de Canard” or the “Chunky Lobster Scramble”.

    You can’t go wrong with multiple variations on lox, and, by golly, the lunch-time sandwiches look good!

    OEB is the first breakfast specialist in Western Canadian to venture well beyond pancakes and waffles, sunny-side up, or ‘do you want fries with that?’

    OEB is well worth a visit – at $15 to $20 for full breakfast dishes, it may be a tad pricey, but I can guarantee you won’t need lunch!

    Edmonton Oilers Game Day: St. Louis Blues limp into town

    Edmonton Oilers Game Day: St. Louis Blues limp into town


    St. Louis Blues at Edmonton Oilers: Rogers Place, 7 p.m., TV: Sportsnet West, radio: 630 CHED Five Oilers keys to the game 1. Keep winning at home The Oilers have won six straight at Rogers Place, with their last loss here Nov. 18, 6-3 to Vegas. In those...

    St. Louis Blues at Edmonton Oilers: Rogers Place, 7 p.m., TV: Sportsnet West, radio: 630 CHED

    Five Oilers keys to the game 1. Keep winning at home

    The Oilers have won six straight at Rogers Place, with their last loss here Nov. 18, 6-3 to Vegas.

    In those six games, all starts by Mikko Koskinen, they’ve given up six goals and scored 18.

    The Blues have one of the six worst NHL road records (4-6-2) and have played the fewest games in enemy rinks (12). They’ve scored just 26 goals in their dozen road games.

    2. Getting Talbot back on track

    Koskinen hasn’t lost a home start (7-0-0) but the Oilers may be going with Talbot because head coach Ken Hitchcock wants to keep both of his goalies in the loop.

    Talbot also had a strong game against Blues in St. Louis, in a 3-2 shootout win 10 days ago.

    Talbot, fifth in games played (214) in Oilers history, is closing in on Andy Moog for fourth spot in Oilers career minutes played for goalies. He’s at 5,776 and Moog finished with 6,049.

    Latest Oil Spills podcast: Oilers click under Hitchcock as past ‘atomic bomb’ hits

    Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, Google Play or Soundcloud. You can also listen via the widget below.

    3. St. Louis is singing the blues

    On paper, the Blues are a strong team, especially up front, but they’ve been one of the NHL’s most disappointing stories as Christmas draws near.

    They got pasted 7-2 at home by Calgary on Sunday, drawing the ire of head coach Craig Berube, who didn’t like their compete level at all.

    GM Doug Armstrong’s phone is ringing off the hook with teams calling on his players. Pretty much everybody is available but winger Vladimir Tarasenko’s name has come up the most. He has nine goals in 31 games and is minus-13.

    It would take lots to get him out of St. Louis, though. There aren’t many scorers like him.

    4. More of Puljujarvi

    Jesse Puljujarvi’s has poor stats (two goals, three points) in 23 games, but there may be light at the end of this tunnel.

    He was very good in Vancouver, driving the net, forcing players to turn over pucks, using his size to make stuff happen.

    He got a sniff on McDavid’s line to start the third as a reward, and he has Hitchcock firmly in his corner.

    On Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’s second-period goal, he boxed out Josh Leivo in front of the net, allowing Nugent-Hopkins room and time to score. He deserved more than a “also helping out on the play.”

    GUNTER: Eco-zealots will never be appeased

    GUNTER: Eco-zealots will never be appeased


    Last week, Premier Rachel Notley said her Quebec counterpart, newly elected Premier Francois Legault “needs to get off his high horse.” Of course, Legault had earned the ire of Notley and most Albertans by sneering there was “no social...

    Last week, Premier Rachel Notley said her Quebec counterpart, newly elected Premier Francois Legault “needs to get off his high horse.” Of course, Legault had earned the ire of Notley and most Albertans by sneering there was “no social acceptability” in his province for a pipeline with “dirty oil” in it from Alberta.

    Notley would actually be a good role model for Legault, since she only climbed off her own high horse a few months ago. Indeed, she has still only come down part way.

    It was Notley who established the whole “social acceptability” standard in the first place. Her theory was that if we Albertans just taxed ourselves enough and piled up environmental regulations high enough, we would earn “social license” from politicians such as Legault to get pipelines constructed.

    How’s that worked out?

    The very fact Legault believes “social acceptability” is a precondition to building pipelines comes directly from Notley’s (and others’) assertion that it was possible for Alberta to earn “social license.”

    Notley still hasn’t fully given up on “social license,” either, even though it is crystal clear the concept is an utter failure.

    In a year-end interview Notley gave to Postmedia on Monday, she once again connected Alberta’s ability to see pipelines built to saltwater ports with our willingness to beggar our treasury with expensive schemes to make “progress on climate change.”

    Frankly, if the last three years had taught Notley anything, it should have been that the only thing that will move pipelines along is the willingness of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to invoke Ottawa’s constitutional authority over interprovincial trade. And that is unlikely.

    Pipelines are not being held up because Alberta’s climate change efforts are insufficient – a carbon tax, coal-fired power plant closures, higher taxes on large-scale emitters, huge power-contract buyouts, wind and solar projects, mountains of new “green” regs. They are being held up because nothing short of an end to the oil and gas industry will satisfy “green” politicians and radical environmentalists.

    There is no level of appeasement that will ever prove to be enough. It’s not the pipelines the eco-zealots want to stop, it’s what’s in the pipelines. So “social license” is impossible.

    Legault might also be forgiven for thinking Notley had granted his province a veto over pipelines from the West.

    One of her first acts as premier in 2015 was to show how “social license” would work. Notley flew to Quebec to meet with Philippe Couillard, Legault’s predecessor as premier.

    Notley said it was “not unreasonable” for Quebec to impose job-creation demands and high environmental standards on any pipeline through its territory. And it was up to Alberta to prove to Quebec’s satisfaction that those demands were being met.

    So, first Couillard and now Legault reasoned the highest possible standard was no pipeline at all.

    Of course, Prime Minister Trudeau and his federal Liberals let Quebec block pipelines with no consequences.

    First, the Liberals changed the pipeline approval rules so TransCanada would kill Energy East (which was unpopular in Quebec). Then they upped Quebec’s equalization payments by 11 per cent anyway.

    Quebec gets to kill pipelines but consume tax dollars as if the pipelines were up and pumping money into the treasury.

    The common denominator with pipeline obstruction in Quebec and in B.C. is Trudeau. Only the federal government possesses the power or influence to push through projects such as Energy East and Trans Mountain.

    Of course, Trudeau has no intention of taking the side of Alberta and the energy industry over the objections of Liberal-friendly Quebec and B.C.

    And Rachel “Get-Off-Your-High-Horse” Notley has shown no signs of climbing off her “I (heart) Justin” horse.